With the French Open a week away, the players are making their final preparations with two tournaments this week. One of these is the Open de Nice Cote d’Azur in France. The 250 event in Nice was won by Albert Montanes last year, who defeating Gael Monfils in straight sets in the final.
Check out the Full Draw: ATP Nice 2014 Draw
John Isner is top seed at the event and may well face a fellow American in round two. He plays the winner of Kenny de Schepper and a qualifier, with Americans Sam Querrey, Jack Sock and Donald Young seeded 1, 3 and 4 in the final qualifying round to be played. Wildcard Paul-Henri Mathieu will also play a qualifier with Federico Delbonis rounding off the first quarter. He plays Mikhail Kukushkin to open the tournament. Kukushkin won their last encounter easily but that was on hard court, a surface that the Argentinian has struggled on to date.
Gilles Simon impressed in Rome, taking Rafael Nadal to three sets before falling to the Spaniard. He begins his tournament against either Dominic Thiem or Steve Johnson. Thiem was highly impressive in his last outing, coming from a set down to oust Stanislas Wawrinka from the Madrid Open before having to withdraw from the event. Meanwhile, Johnson has made the final of the Bordeaux Challenger this past week. His opponent in that event was Julien Benneteau who faces Carlos Berlocq in the same quarter of the draw. Nicolas Mahut or a qualifier await the winner of this match, both of whom will fancy their chances of making the quarter finals.
Edouard Roger-Vasselin is only 1-4 on the year on clay but taking Tsonga and Dimitrov to three sets in the past fortnight do show promise. Alejandro Gonzalez should be a far less tougher prospect to take on, given the Colombian is now 2-7 on clay on the main tour this year. Talented Croatian Borna Coric has been granted a wildcard and will begin against a qualifier. The 17 year-old made a Challenger semi final a few weeks back and also has a win over Jerzy Janowicz this year. Albert Montanes should ease past Matthew Ebden to set up a rematch of last year’s final in round two against Gael Monfils. The third seed plays his first match since retiring in Bucharest, hoping to improve his head to head against Montanes to 3-4.
Dmitry Tursunov had struggled on the clay to date this year but picked up an impressive victory over Roberto Bautista-Agut in Rome last week. He will play Oleksandr Nedovyesov in round one – the Kazakh has struggled to establish himself on the main tour and has gone just 1-7 this year after an impressive 2013 on the Challenger circuit. Filippo Volandri is another who is struggling with a 1-8 record on clay this year. He dropped down a level to play Rome Challenger, making the semi final before losing in the Masters event the next week. He faces Robin Haase who has lost three straight but will take confidence from his place in the Rome Doubles final. Second seed Ernests Gulbis rounds off the draw, facing the winner of Bernard Tomic and Martin Klizan. Tomic’s struggles on clay are well documented and he failed to qualify for both Rome and Madrid in the past month.
SF: Gilles Simon def. Federico Delbonis
SF: Gael Monfiils def. Ernests Gulbis
F: Gael Monfils def. Gilles Simon